There are many tools to help you effectively plan your estate, and a will is one of the most important. A properly drafted will can ensure an orderly and efficient distribution of your estate, minimize family conflicts, and reduce tax exposure. The laws governing wills, estates, trusts and taxation are complex and it is critical that professionals experienced in these areas review your estate plan and prepare your will for you.
Why should I have a will?
If you don’t have a will, those you leave behind may encounter many obstacles as they try to finalize your estate.
Without a will, Alberta legislation will determine the beneficiaries of your estate. The Public Trustee may take control of a minor child’s share of your estate. Your estate will go to your spouse or adult-interdependent partner if you have one. Your children may also receive a share of your estate depending on their relationship to that surviving spouse or adult-interdependent partner. In the event that a child of yours does receive a share of your estate, that child will become entitled to his or her share upon attaining the age of majority. In Alberta, that is currently the age of 18. Children are not often financially responsible at that age.
Without a will, you have no opportunity to select a guardian for your minor children and the court will appoint one for them. Your estate would pass to more distant relatives in the event you do not have a spouse or adult interdependent partner or children or if they do not survive you. You will have no control over the ultimate destination of your assets. Friends and favourite charities will receive nothing.
Want to make your wishes known to loved ones? Call us today and let us help you in the complex world of estate planning.
Frequently Asked Questions
We recommend that you revisit the terms of your will periodically or as your family or financial circumstances change.
Divorce or the termination of an adult-interdependent relationship (often called "common law") will have an impact on certain provisions made in your Will. The birth or adoption of children or grandchildren, or the death of a beneficiary may impact your plan. The death of an executor will require that you appoint a new one. A growth in your assets, an inheritance or windfall may affect the distribution. Similarly, a financial loss or asset reorganization may also necessitate changes to your will.
Naturally, your debts and any income taxes owing at your death and as a result of your death will have to be paid. Executor, lawyer and probate fees may also arise.
Unless you specify otherwise, your executor is entitled to compensation for looking after your estate. Being an executor can be very time consuming and demanding. Guidelines have been established for this compensation which typically depend on the nature, complexity and time it takes to complete all estate matters. Your executor will likely retain a lawyer to assist him or her in administering your estate; the lawyer’s fees are also governed by guidelines. Both executor’s fees and lawyer’s fees may be reviewed by the court.
Probate fees in Alberta are among the lowest in Canada and will depend on the value of the estate.
While it's possible to draft a will without a lawyer, consulting with an expert is critical.
We can assess your estate and suggest different courses of action so that you have a solution tailored to you.
We also keep up to date on the world of estate planning, which is important as laws frequently change.
We can assist with a range of documents, including wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and personal directives.
Not sure which ones you need? Contact us and find out.
Start by contacting us. We can schedule an appointment to determine the issues involved in your estate. The lawyer will then estimate the fees and begin preparing your will with you. The fees for the preparation of your will may vary depending on your family situation and the complexity of your estate. We will ensure that we have all information needed and will take time to properly plan your estate.
A properly planned estate provides the best protection for your loved ones. The time you spend now is an investment in the future for the benefit of those people you leave behind.